I was once asked by a photographer how I wanted to come across in my headshot for work. I thought it was a really interesting question. I replied, “Fierce but approachable.” As I said it, I wondered, “Can I be both?”
What I meant was that I wanted to be respected for being a fierce entrepreneur, but I also wanted people to know I’m going to do it the nice way, with ethics and humanity. It has always bothered me that bosses or people who get to the top are portrayed as selfish, ruthless, and egotistical. I’ve always felt that having humanity in your culture is a killer app.
So I was happy to read a recent New York Times piece confirming that – despite public opinion and the pop culture portrayal of leaders - that givers do better than takers.
The article confirmed that you cannot be a doormat-type giver, but if you are a giver with a backbone, you ultimately do better in life and in your career. More specifically, “researchers found that givers dominated [the ranks of top performers in organizations]. These givers had golden reputations, wider social networks, better relationships — people wanted to work with and collaborate with them. It’s best to be a giver who knows, in extreme cases, how to stand up for oneself.”
The article also addressed how our society’s incentive systems are too focused on economics alone, and this contributes to the problem. Although givers inherently know that they’ve chosen the right path, in today’s world, as the article explains, the perception is that the takers are winning. They are certainly damaging our society and the way our kids are learning to behave.
So, read the article, and give a pat on the back to a giver in your life. Let’s turn the tide together on this false belief.